Thursday, October 31, 2013

New Airline Rules: You May Be Able to Use Electronic Devices from Gate-to-Gate

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given airlines the ability to expand the use of personal electronic devices for passengers on board. That means you could soon be able to listen to your music or read books on an e-reader from gate-to-gate on your flight.

Individual airlines will have the ability to determine when it is safe for passengers to use their electronic devices.

Learn more about the decision from the FAA.

Downtown Rebirth: Documenting the Live-Work Dynamic in 21st Century U.S. Cities

From the Center City District (CCD)

Downtowns across the US are thriving. Cities are diversifying their economies and land use, restoring and enlivening public spaces. During the last three decades, city centers have been adding arts, culture, dining, education, medical and research institutions, along with hospitality, leisure, and sports venues.

Places once shunned as empty and unsafe at night are being redeveloped at higher density and are thriving after dark.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Solitary confinement's invisible scars

From the Guardian:

As kids, many of us imagine having superpowers. An avid comic book reader, I often imagined being invisible. I never thought I would actually experience it, but I did.

It wasn't in a parallel universe – although it often felt that way – but right here in the Empire State, my home. While serving time in New York's prisons, I spent 2,054 days in solitary and other forms of isolated confinement, out of sight and invisible to other human beings – and eventually, even to myself.

After only a short time in solitary, I felt all of my senses begin to diminish. There was nothing to see but gray walls. In New York's so-called special housing units, or SHUs, most cells have solid steel doors, and many do not have windows. You cannot even tape up pictures or photographs; they must be kept in an envelope. To fight the blankness, I counted bricks and measured the walls. I stared obsessively at the bolts on the door to my cell.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Military Members and Veterans - Watch Out for Scams

There are a number of scams currently circulating that target members of the military and veterans, such as fake military charities, identity theft targeting active service members, and veteran pension scams.

In general, all of these scams try to take advantage of military members by offering to provide a service and then taking your money, while you get nothing in return.

You can learn more about specific scams by visiting the Scams Targeting Service Members or Veterans section of

If you've been the victim of a scam, there are a few ways to file a complaint:

File a complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or call them at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or 1-202-326-2222.

File a complaint about Internet-related fraud issues with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). offers information about how to report financial fraud.

Monday, October 28, 2013

ThomasNet now provides assistance to meet supplier diversity requirements

ThomasNet is "Engineers' and buyers' choice for finding trusted suppliers. The only free platform designed for sourcing components, equipment, MRO products, raw materials and custom manufacturing services.

I use it often.

Now offers help to meet supplier diversity requirements
*Find Suppliers by Ownership.
*1,000's of Diversity Certified/ Registered Suppliers categorized as,
Woman Owned
African American
Hispanic American
HubZone and more

Friday, October 25, 2013

America’s Mood Map: An Interactive Guide to the United States of Attitude

For a country that features the word United so prominently in its name, the U.S. is a pretty fractious place. We splinter along fault lines of income, education, religion, race, hyphenated origin, age and politics. Then too there’s temperament. We’re coarse or courtly, traditionalist or rebel, amped up or laid-back. And it’s no secret that a lot of that seems to be determined by — or at least associated with — where we live.

Now a multinational team of researchers led by psychologist and American expat Jason Rentfrow of the University of Cambridge in the U.K. has sought to draw the regional lines more clearly, literally mapping the American mood, with state-by-state ratings of personality and temperament.

Read more from TIME.

BTW, I'm "from Pennsylvania," which isn't that far from my hometown of Binghamton, NY.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Least Popular American Baby Names According to Early Records

From Mental Floss:

Like a lot of people, I have been entranced for the past few days by this animated map of the most popular baby names for girls by state over the past 52 years. It shows how the country shifted from Mary to Lisa before giving over completely to Jennifer, after which the Jessica/Ashley and Emily/Emma battles eventually resolved into the current dominance of Sophia. The map was created by Reuben Fischer-Baum of Deadspin using baby name data from the Social Security Administration. The SSA website gives the top 1000 boy and girl names (as reported on social security card applications) for each year from 1880 onward. This brief historical tour of the most popular names got me curious about the least popular names.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Census Bureau Announces Revised Economic Indicator Calendar

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Census Bureau today announced revisions to its release calendar for the 2013 economic indicators that have been delayed because of the recent lapse in federal funding.

The following are revised dates for delayed economic indicators data:

Housing Vacancies and Homeownership

October [originally scheduled for 10/29/13] 11/05/13

Advance Monthly Retail Trade Survey (MARTS)*

September [originally scheduled for 10/11/13] 10/29/13

October [originally scheduled for 11/14/13] 11/20/13

November [originally scheduled for 12/12/13] No Change

Manufacturing and Trade Inventories and Sales (MTIS)*

August [originally scheduled for 10/11/13] 10/29/13

September [originally scheduled for 11/14/13] 11/20/13

October [originally scheduled for 12/12/13] No Change

Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey (MWTS)*

August [originally scheduled for 10/9/13] 10/25/13

September [originally scheduled for 11/8/13] 11/15/13

October [originally scheduled for 12/10/13] No Change

Quarterly Services Survey

3rd Quarter 2013 [originally scheduled for 12/4/13] 12/12/13

FT900 International Trade Release (Indicator)

August [originally scheduled for 10/8/13] 10/24/13

September [originally scheduled for 11/5/13] 11/14/13

October [originally scheduled for 12/4/13] No Change

Quarterly Financial Report Manufacturing, Mining, Wholesale Trade & Service Sectors

3rd Quarter 2013 [originally scheduled for 12/9/13] No Change

Quarterly Financial Report Retail Trade

3rd Quarter 2013 [originally scheduled for 12/16/13] No Change

New Residential Construction

September [originally scheduled for 10/17/13] 11/26/13

October [originally scheduled for 11/19/13] 11/26/13

November [originally scheduled for 12/18/13] No Change

New Residential Sales

September [originally scheduled for 10/24/13] 12/4/13

October [originally scheduled for 11/27/13] 12/4/13

November [originally scheduled for 12/24/13] No Change

Construction Spending (VIP)

August [originally scheduled for 10/1/13] 10/22/13

September [originally scheduled for 11/1/13] 12/2/13

October [originally scheduled for 12/2/13] No Change

Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories and Orders Full Report

August [originally scheduled for 10/3/13] 11/4/13 [with Sept report]

September [originally scheduled for 11/4/13] No Change

October [originally scheduled for 12/5/13] No Change

Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories and Orders Advance Report

September [originally scheduled for 10/25/13] No Change

October [originally scheduled for 11/27/13] No Change

November [originally scheduled for 12/24/13] No Change

The Census Bureau has also posted anticipated dates for the remaining statistical data products expected to be released in 2013. To view the full revised release calendar through the end of 2013, visit Census Bureau’s release calendar.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Status of Government Websites During Shutdown (and some options)

With the federal government now shut down, many government services and agencies are closed, suspended or otherwise curtailed. The following list describes the status of select government web resources and some possible alternatives.
Note: The Internet Archive grabbed copies of a number of federal agency websites just before they were taken offline due to the lapse in appropriations. You can access the archives through the links on this blog entry.

More info HERE.

Monday, October 14, 2013

How New Yorkers (the City) Really Feel About Each Other

A Business Insider-SurveyMonkey Audience poll asked New Yorkers to pick which neighborhoods have the best food, the best bars, and the most attractive people, among many other things.

A few months ago, we ran a poll that asked Americans what they thought of other states — which were the drunkest, hottest, and had the silliest accents.

Since New Yorkers came up as rudest last time we asked, we figured they would be blunt with us, so we tried the whole thing over again, asking about New York City neighborhoods.

We asked 414 New Yorkers — someone who lives and/or works in New York City — to answer 24 questions about the neighborhoods. Below we've mapped the percentage of people who named each area for different questions.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Another alternative for finding ACS Census data

If you or your colleagues need census data during this government data outage, head to

They have migrated the ACS 2011 1, 3, and 5 year data and the new ACS 2012 data into their system. The 2011 release is up and running, and they are working on formatting the 2012 data now. You can browse for facts and figures or just easily get at the tables you want to download.

The interface is undergoing some polishing work as they work in the open and gear up for our beta release, but the site is mostly there.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Free Access to Social Explorer During Government Shutdown

The current shutdown in Washington is limiting the access that scholars and researchers have to vital materials, including the US Census website. To that end, Oxford University Press and the Social Explorer team will open up access to Social Explorer – the premier US Census demographics website – through October 18. Social Explorer provides access to the US Census data from 1790 to 2010 and to the American Community Survey from 2005 through 2012.

For access to Social Explorer, simply email to request a username and password.

About Social Explorer:

Social Explorer provides quick and easy access to current and historical census data and demographic information. The easy-to-use web interface lets users create maps and reports to illustrate, analyze, and understand demography and social change. In addition to its comprehensive data resources, Social Explorer offers features and tools to meet the needs of demography experts and novices alike. From research libraries to classrooms to government agencies to corporations to the front page of the New York Times, Social Explorer helps the public engage with society and science.

Missouri Census Data Center now offering access to 2012 ACS data as profile products

The Missouri Census Data Center had created data set versions of the 2012 1-year ACS base/summary tables. And MCDC has completed using those detailed tables in order to create ACS Profiles and ACS Trends report products (use the first and third links from the “Quick Links” box on the home page for access to the menu pages). We have done considerable work on the code we use to create these derived variables, trying to avoid using tables with a higher probability of having suppressed values.

You can also get access to these data in a single data set, usmcdcprofiles in the acs2012 data directory. Access this data set with 7750 geographic summaries (rows) and 1057 data items (variables/columns). The latter include the margin-of-error values and calculated percentage variables for all variable that are counts (so you get, for example, Poor, Poor_moe and PctPoor (as well as PovUniverse). There are numerous ways to access this data set (which might require you to skim the Dexter Quick Start Guide – linked to from the Dexter query form):
1. You can navigate the old fashioned way(s). Click sequence:
a. American Community Survey home page - - from the Navy blue navigation box on our home page.
b. Access Data from the section index at the top of the page .
c. Acs2012 data directory link.
d. Usmcdcprofiles.sas7bdat data set. (Alternately, choose Datasets.html followed by the usmcdcprofiles link in col. 1 of that page).
2. Access the ACS Profiles report application and choose 1-year periods/2012 from the Select Period drop-down. Complete your specs by completing selecting an area type, and subsequent choices that vary based on area type (aka “summary level”). Run the report. (Alternatively, just click on the “Sample Profile Report” link which appear just below the 1. Select period: line. From the generated report page note the gray Other formats box at upper right and the link labeled Extract data via Dexter at the bottom of that box. This will invoke Dexter and pre-select the data directory and data set.
3. Go to the Whatsnew page (link again is in navy blue navigation box at upper left of mcdc home page) and note the article posted 10-07-2012. In the first paragraph it provides you with a direct link to the “link to the Dexter access” to the relevant data set.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2013

From the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

A total of 842 million people in 2011–13, or around one in eight people in the world, were estimated to be suffering from chronic hunger, regularly not getting enough food to conduct an active life. This figure is lower than the 868 million reported with reference to 2010–12. The total number of undernourished has fallen by 17 percent since 1990–92.

Developing regions as a whole have registered significant progress towards the MDG 1 hunger target. If the average annual decline of the past 21 years continues to 2015, the prevalence of undernourishment will reach a level close to the target. Meeting it would require considerable and immediate additional efforts.

Growth can raise incomes and reduce hunger, but higher economic growth may not reach everyone. It may not lead to more and better jobs for all, unless policies specifically target the poor, especially those in rural areas. In poor countries, hunger and poverty reduction will only be achieved with growth that is not only sustained, but also broadly shared.

Despite overall progress, marked differences across regions persist. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment, with modest progress in recent years. Western Asia shows no progress, while Southern Asia and Northern Africa show slow progress. Significant reductions in both the estimated number and prevalence of undernourishment have occurred in most countries of Eastern and South Eastern Asia, as well as in Latin America.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Teacher and school employee pay from SeeThroughNY

An updated searchable online database of earnings for 384,186 employees of New York State school districts outside New York City was posted at, the transparency website sponsored by the Empire Center for Public Policy.

Since 2008, average pay for members of the New York State Teachers' Retirement System has risen 11 percent statewide, the newly posted data indicates.

Read and download the full report here.

Visit the database on SeeThroughNY here.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The State of the Future report

The world is getting richer, healthier, better educated, more peaceful, and better connected and people are living longer, yet half the world is potentially unstable. Food prices are rising, water tables are falling, corruption and organized crime are increasing, environmental viability for our life support is diminishing, debt and economic insecurity are increasing, climate change continues, and the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen dangerously.

There is no question that the world can be far better than it is—IF we make the right decisions. When you consider the many wrong decisions and good decisions not taken—day after day and year after year around the world—it is amazing that we are still making as much progress as we are. Hence, if we can improve our decision-making as individuals, groups, nations, and institutions, then the world could be surprisingly better
than it is today.

Now that the Cold War seems truly cold, it is time to create a multifaceted compellingly positive view of the future toward which humanity can work. Regardless of the social divisions accentuated by the media, the awareness that we are one species, on one planet, and that it is wise to learn to live with each other is growing, as evidenced by the compassion and aid for Haiti, Pakistan, and Japan; the solidarity with democracy
movements across the Arab world; the constant global communications that connect 30% of humanity via the Internet; and the growing awareness that global climate change is everyone’s problem to solve.

More HERE.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Portrait of Jewish Americans

From Pew Research:

American Jews overwhelmingly say they are proud to be Jewish and have a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people, according to a major new survey by the Pew Research Center. But the survey also suggests that Jewish identity is changing in America, where one-in-five Jews (22%) now describe themselves as having no religion.

The percentage of U.S. adults who say they are Jewish when asked about their religion has declined by about half since the late 1950s and currently is a little less than 2%. Meanwhile, the number of Americans with direct Jewish ancestry or upbringing who consider themselves Jewish, yet describe themselves as atheist, agnostic or having no particular religion, appears to be rising and is now about 0.5% of the U.S. adult population.1

The changing nature of Jewish identity stands out sharply when the survey’s results are analyzed by generation.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - what Big Data has on YOU

From Advertising Age:

Data giant Acxion is aiming to quell concerns [about data mining, and privacy] with a little transparency ...

Acxiom's solution - the just-launched website AboutTheData - invites visitors to enter their names, addresses and the last four digits of their social security numbers to access a portal that the company has gathered on them. This includes age, estimated income, residence, ethnicity, marital status, and which categories of product purchases ... a consumer has made via mail order.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

U.S. Federal Government Shutdown

Due to a lapse in funding, the U.S. federal government has shut down.

During the shutdown, updates regarding government operating status and resumption of normal operations can be found at You can also get answers to government questions by calling 1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636), 8 AM - 8 PM (Eastern Time), Monday through Friday.

The federal government will remain shut down until Congress and the President pass a funding bill.

See also Government shutdown: What’s closed, what’s open?

For you data users, know that websites affected by this shutdown are all websites, including:
• American Factfinder